Star pianist performs for Eastern crowd

McInnis Auditorium’s lights are dimmed, providing a hazy ambience for the performance ahead. The hushed voices of the audience members fill the empty void as they settle down into their seats. A black grand piano sits center-stage, top open to reveal golden plating that reflects the numerous strings and hammers inside.

The performer, a young woman, walks out from back stage in an elegant black dress. As the crowd claps, she bows with a smile on her face. She sits at the bench, waits for the audience to quiet down, lifts her hands, and then begins to play.

On Oct. 26, at 2:30 p.m., the Tri-County Concerts Emerging Artists Series held its first concert, starring Einav Yarden, a 30-year-old Israeli pianist from Tel Aviv. From Beethoven’s “Bagatelles, Op.119” to Haydn’s “Sonata in G major, Hob XVI:6,” Yarden was completely absorbed in her playing, as if all there was in the world was her, the piano and the music.

“She’s exceptionally good for someone her age,” sophomore Ryan Jusk said.

Yarden is undoubtedly skilled. She has been a soloist for many famous orchestras, including the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic and The Spirit of Europe Symphony. She has won prizes at many different piano competitions and has toured with several chamber groups as well. Now she lives, teaches and performs in New York City.

As stated in the Chicago Tribune, Einav Yarden “plays with an authority and beauty of sound that one simply does not expect from someone that young.”

And it was that quality of her music that drew the Tri-County Concerts Association to pull Yarden into their fold. Founded in 1941, the Association is very dedicated to music and the pursuit of young artists. According to President Eleanor James, they have been holding their Emerging Artists Series at Eastern since 1999, thanks to the generous invitation of Ron Matthews, head of the music department.

Yarden has been playing the piano since she was six years old, due to an early love of the xylophone at age three. Most days she practices five to six hours a day. She has some valuable advice for music majors, or just anyone who loves to play.

“If you want to perform, take into account that the piece you practiced will sound different in performance,” Yarden said. Sound advice from one well-versed in the musical arts.

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